T Nation

YouTuber Says Untrained Guys 50+ Can Build Big Arms. I Disagree

There’s some 58yr old dude (who frankly looks older) he can get 50+ guys “Big” arms. Now I’ve got 17" guns myself @ 53, but sorry, there’s no way for anyone who has never lifted, or had any kind of heavy manual job, to put INCHES on his arms. His arms program is actually fairly basic, lot of DB work.

So I cheekily said, "Ok 50+ guys - how many MILLIMETERS have you added since 50?

I pity my peers who have taken up this cosa nostra so late in life, I wish them well, but some realism is in order. Teenage boys pick up weights mostly because they wanna get big, but a few realise that it’s TRULY the greatest time in your life to slam on lean body mass. You’ll never add it so fast. But starting at 50… you’re just NEVER going to get to even 15" without Synthol, or being 300lbs of mostly fat.

However…is there any flipside here? Pull out ALL the stops - take away all constraints of money, time, stress etc - we know how long it takes a bicep boy to put the first, magic couple of inches on his arms - but how about a guy whose hair, moobs and T-count are all dropping fast? How long would it take to get THAT guy from 11", to 13"? To 14" etc?

What’s the harm if they try?

1 Like

None whatsoever.

1 Like

What makes starting lifting and making gains different at 50 vs 25? Is it a hormones thing? What if the ok’d guy is on TRT? Now can he build muscle?

1 Like

This one started in her 70s.

I think you need to rethink things. Is said person going to turn into a mass monster? Probably not, but the notion of not being able to build muscle after 50 is absurd.


You could say that about many people who start lifting at any age.


That’s true, those guys are in a league of their own. But, I certainly think growing arms is not impossible just because you are over 50. That’s just nuts!

1 Like

Folks, youtube/instagram fitness accounts are like Freddy Kruger: they only have power if you give them attention.

So stop.


Big difference between a 50+ year old with many years of training experience trying experience trying to put on a lot more mass on their arms vs a 50 year old newbie trying to gain. The former might struggle to put on more than say half an inch, the latter might make big gains if they do it right.


My 14y.o niece has similar sized arms. Scrawny AF. And I think you need to reread my OP.

Wanna put some numbers on that, from your experience? :slight_smile:

I’m only 37, but I’ve known of quite a few fellas who have added plenty of mass who started training later on…thing is though, most people who train are not 50+ years old. If they were, I think their would stacks more people who would basically back up my point.

I feel like arm measurements on people over 20% bodyfat really should come with an asterisk. Sorry, that sounds like a cheap shot and it’s not meant as one. Just trying to clarify the claim.

If a guy in his 50s has 11-inch arms and man boobs, getting “bigger arms” should be pretty low on his priority list.

What you’re asking, and have asked several times over the last 10 years, involves a bunch of variables like starting body comp and stats; exact training plan; exact nutrition plan; whether or not we accept the fact if the guy in the hypothetical scenario qualified for TRT, then that would benefit his health and physique, etc.

Applying an arbitrary limit based solely on chronological age is absurd and discounts the effects of expert-designed training and nutrition and the body’s fundamental physiological response to training.

A 50-year old beginner can absolutely see “newbie gains” from a good training and diet plan, without his testosterone levels being a significant factor. I’m pretty positive there’ve been more than a few examples in training logs and the T-ransformation challenge over the years.


I would bet on a 50 Y/O man with great genetics making better arm progress than a 20 Y/O with poor genetics for arms. If we say 80 years old, then things change quite a lot, but IMO genetics is a bigger factor than age if we are talking from 20 into the 50s.

1 Like

hope your wrong. I got off to a late start.

1 Like

This is so spot on. Hell I’ve seen a few obese women with bigger arms than mine.


You consider that big? Maybe if you’re short that would be big.

hahaha, yup. my Mother, sister and half the people I work with have “bigger” arms and legs than me. Which is why when I give my arm measurement I make sure to say there is no fluff in my number.

1 Like

If someone in their 50s came to me with a goal of putting 2" on their arms I’d tell them that we will need to be pretty lucky and we will need to get nearly everything right but we probably won’t get there. We will get you healthier, stronger, give you more energy and give father time the middle finger, at least for a little while.

I also subscribe to the Paul Carter model that once you hit an old enough age maybe your focus shouldn’t be to add muscle via a calorie surplus so that adds another complexity.

Are there going to be guys who do it? Yes. If you line up 100 random 50+ year old guys, are a majority going to be able to add 2" to their arms? Doubtful.

1 Like

No numbers, but at least a bit of wisdom. And I hope all those others in this thread who take clients money are as honest (as I’m being) with those 50-something clients about the poor chances of them making gains that measure inches, not just millimetres.

What I’d love is for someone over 50 to PROVE me wrong. Hell at this point I’ll take a before pics of a tape measure going from 11" with a face that’s clearly 50, to 13" however many years later, on say-so.